My girlfriend Jane and I spent our summer break in Vienna last week. Normally before any break I will make enough restaurant reservations to sink a ship, leaving little time for anything else. This time I was under strict orders, instead having to rely on my own intuition when we arrived – never a good idea (I am the worlds most indecisive person). After a quick trawl through tripadvisor on Sunday afternoon I came up with Do&Co, making a reservation for the following evening. Although no menu was viewable online, the restaurant was close to the hotel and a light lunch at the restaurant’s street cafe the previous day was delicious and affordable (the chicken caesar sandwich is a winner).
Situated at the top of design hotel Do&Co in the Haas Haus building opposite the majestic Stephansdom cathedral – restaurant Do&Co arguably has the best views of Vienna.
First things first – make a reservation. According to several blogs the restaurant operates a ‘no reservation, no table’ policy, no matter how busy they are. I’m not sure if this is strictly true, but a group of guys who attempted to have a drink in the restaurant’s bar, situated below the restaurant, were unable to secure a table or a drink. We dined on a Monday night and there was barely a table to spare.
The restaurant is widely regarded as one of Vienna’s most fashionable. Unfortunately this meant a dining room full of loud, brash young locals. The dining room is spacious (maybe 60/70 covers) and backs on to an open plan kitchen and wok station. Weather permitting, ask to be seated outside on the terrace which offers panoramic views over Vienna.
The service was efficient, not overly friendly but prompt and quiet. I appreciate it must be difficult serving customers who do not speak your native language, so don’t expect a great deal of chit-chat.
Now to the food. It really was an eclectic mix. The menu read like a map of the world – from traditional Viennese, to Malaysian, to modern French. No doubt there to please the hotel’s international guests, the menu had little identity. My heart dropped when I saw the words Donner kebab – a step too far? After ordering I was left questioning the quality of food which may leave a kitchen offering such diverse foods.
I shouldn’t have questioned. Goose Foie Gras and Mango came two ways: pan fried and terrine. Although the reduction accompanying the pan fried liver was slightly over reduced, the square of micro-thin mango jelly cloaking the terrine was deliciously tart, offsetting the sweetness of the reduction well. This dish would have been just as satisfying without the pan fried liver.
Crispy Prawns with truffle and salad were equally as well executed. A mammoth bowl of prawns were covered in deliciously chewy batter and the salad was hiding under a pile of shaved truffle. The only issue was the salad dressing, which was a touch too acidic and drowned out the fragrance of the truffle.
Jane’s lobster with cauliflower puree and curry oil was pleasant on first taste, but soon got tiring. The lobster was overcooked and cold and the overall texture of the dish was too soft. The puree was well made, as was the curry oil, but both were a little uninspiring when coupled with beautifully sweet lobster.
My saddle of Veal with béarnaise sauce, green beans and fries; however, was fantastic. By far the most tender veal fillet I have ever tasted – it must have seen the water bath before hitting my plate. The sauce was deliciously tangy and the green beans were elevated to new heights by sweet shallots and crisp sweet pancetta (american style I believe).
I used to love chocolate fondant, but I have lost faith recently after nasty experiences of overcooked, over-sweet cake. After a bottle of Pouilly Fumé I took the plunge. Perfection, an oozing core of bitter chocolate. Faith restored.
The kitchen can clearly cook to a very high standard, which leaves me wondering why they choose such a diverse menu. I am all for choice, but when you see a Donner kebab next to Goose Foie Gras and Fillet of Veal you have to question. A little more clarity and direction would give the restaurant a greatly needed identity. Although a little pretentious, the decor, prompt service and quality of food makes the Do&Co dining room a pleasant place to be and I shall definitely be returning.
Restaurant Do&Co, Stephansdom, Vienna
Food (For Two): €114.80
Dress Code: Smart Casual (Jackets for Gentlemen)